Delia Derbyshire

Last updated 09 January 2020

Acting Creditsexpand all 4 roles
Self: Sculptress of Sound: The Lost Works of Delia Derbyshire[Related] (from archive recording); Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom: Derbyshire[Related] (from archive recording); Masters of Sound[Factual]
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Production Credits
Music Arranger: as Realised by: Film Clips[Factual]
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Acknowlegment: as With thanks to: 30 Years In The TARDIS[Factual]
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Title Music Arranger: The Creation of Doctor Who[]; An Unearthly Child(uncredited); The Daleks(uncredited); The Edge of Destruction(uncredited); Marco Polo(uncredited); The Keys of Marinus(uncredited); The Aztecs(uncredited); The Sensorites(uncredited); The Reign Of Terror(uncredited); Planet of Giants(uncredited); The Dalek Invasion of Earth(uncredited); The Rescue(uncredited); The Romans(uncredited); The Web Planet(uncredited); The Crusade(uncredited); The Space Museum(uncredited); The Chase(uncredited); The Time Meddler(uncredited); Galaxy 4(uncredited); Mission to the Unknown(uncredited); The Myth Makers(uncredited); The Daleks' Master Plan(uncredited); The Massacre(uncredited); The Ark(uncredited); The Celestial Toymaker(uncredited); The Gunfighters(uncredited); The Savages(uncredited); The War Machines(uncredited); The Smugglers(uncredited); The Tenth Planet(uncredited); The Power of the Daleks(uncredited); The Highlanders(uncredited); The Underwater Menace(uncredited); The Moonbase(uncredited); The Macra Terror(uncredited); The Faceless Ones(uncredited); The Evil of the Daleks(uncredited); The Tomb of the Cybermen(uncredited); The Abominable Snowmen(uncredited); The Ice Warriors(uncredited); The Enemy of the World(uncredited); The Web of Fear(uncredited); Fury From the Deep(uncredited); The Wheel In Space(uncredited); The Dominators(uncredited); The Mind Robber(uncredited); The Invasion(uncredited); The Krotons(uncredited); The Seeds of Death(uncredited); The Space Pirates(uncredited); The War Games(uncredited); Spearhead From Space(uncredited); Doctor Who And The Silurians(uncredited); The Ambassadors of Death(uncredited); Inferno(uncredited); Terror of the Autons(uncredited); The Mind of Evil(uncredited); The Claws of Axos(uncredited); Colony In Space(uncredited); The Dæmons(uncredited); Day of the Daleks(uncredited); The Curse of Peladon(uncredited); The Sea Devils(uncredited); The Mutants(uncredited); The Time Monster(uncredited); The Three Doctors(uncredited); Carnival Of Monsters(uncredited); Frontier In Space(uncredited); Planet of the Daleks(uncredited); The Green Death(uncredited); The Time Warrior(uncredited); Invasion of the Dinosaurs(uncredited); Death to the Daleks(uncredited); The Monster of Peladon(uncredited); Planet of the Spiders(uncredited); Robot(uncredited); The Ark In Space(uncredited); The Sontaran Experiment(uncredited); Genesis of the Daleks(uncredited); Revenge of the Cybermen(uncredited); Terror of the Zygons(uncredited); Planet of Evil(uncredited); Pyramids of Mars(uncredited); The Android Invasion(uncredited); The Brain of Morbius(uncredited); The Seeds of Doom(uncredited); The Masque of Mandragora(uncredited); The Hand Of Fear(uncredited); The Deadly Assassin(uncredited); The Face of Evil(uncredited); The Robots of Death(uncredited); The Talons of Weng-Chiang(uncredited); Horror of Fang Rock(uncredited); The Invisible Enemy(uncredited); Image of the Fendahl(uncredited); The Sun Makers(uncredited); Underworld(uncredited); The Invasion of Time(uncredited); The Ribos Operation(uncredited); The Pirate Planet(uncredited); The Stones of Blood(uncredited); The Androids of Tara(uncredited); The Power of Kroll(uncredited); The Armageddon Factor(uncredited); Destiny of the Daleks(uncredited); City of Death(uncredited); The Creature from the Pit(uncredited); Nightmare of Eden(uncredited); The Horns of Nimon(uncredited); Shada(uncredited) | as Original Theme Arranged by: The Day of The Doctor
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Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001)
(this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Delia Ann Derbyshire

Born: Wednesday 5th May 1937
Died: Tuesday 3rd July 2001 (age: 64)

An Adventure in Space and Time: Biography

Delia Derbyshire was born in Coventry, England

Educated at Coventry Grammar School and Girton College, Cambridge, where she was awarded a degree in mathematics and music.

In 1960 Delia Derbyshire joined the BBC as a trainee studio manager. Within a matter of months she had created her recording of Ron Grainer's Doctor Who theme, one of the most famous and instantly recognisable TV themes ever. On first hearing it Grainer was tickled pink: "Did I really write this?" he asked. "Most of it," replied Derbyshire.

Thus began what is still referred to as the Golden Age of the Radiophonic Workshop. Initially set up as a service department for Radio Drama, it had always been run by someone with a drama background. Derbyshire was the first person there with any higher music qualifications, but as she wasn't supposed to be doing music, much of her early work remained anonymous under the umbrella credit 'special sound by BBC Radiophonic Workshop'.

Derbyshire soon gained a reputation for successfully tackling the impossible. When asked to "make some TV title music using only animal sounds" - much thought and ingenuity resulted in Great Zoos of the World. Delia always managed to soften her purist mathematical approach with a sensitive interpretative touch - 'very sexy' said Michael Bakewell on first hearing her electronic music for Cyprian Queen.

Derbyshire also worked with the composers Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Roberto Gerhard (on his 1965 Prix Italia winning 'Anger of Achilles'), and Ianni Christou, doing sound treatments of their orchestral music. She was also assistant to Luciano Berio at the 1962 Dartington summer school.

Delia's works from the 60s and 70s continue to be used on radio and TV some 30 years later, and her music has given her legendary status with releases in Sweden and Japan. She is also constantly mentioned, credited and covered by bands from Add n to (x) and Sonic Boom to Aphex Twin and The Chemical Brothers.

A recent Guardian article called her 'the unsung heroine of British electronic music'. She had exploratory encounters with Paul McCartney, Karlheinz Stockhausen, George Martin, Pink Floyd, Brian Jones, Anthony Newley, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson.

Derbyshire returned to music in the late nineties after having her interest renewed by fellow electronic musician Peter Kember and was working on an album when she died aged 64 of renal failure while recovering from breast cancer surgery.

The composer is played by Sarah Winter in the 50th Anniversary drama An Adventure In Space And Time.